Getting Started in the Field

For many, the world of copy editing is by and large a completely unknown entity. What is a copy editor? What do they do? How can I become one?

Thankfully, the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) is here to answer all of those questions, along with providing resources like scholarships, conferences, mentor programs and certificates to those who are passionate about the copy editing profession.

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The ACES website states that their “aim is to provide solutions to editing problems, training and a place to discuss common issues. [It] is an international members’ alliance of editors working at newspapers, magazines, websites, traditional media outlets, Fortune 500, as well as freelance editors, students and their professors.”

Personally, I have found membership in this group to be an invaluable resource and window into my chosen field. Because copy editing is somewhat of a rarity in general journalism coursework, I have committed to receiving the necessary training remotely, from the ACES.

It is difficult for copy editors to quantify their results for third party observers. As such, ACES has partnered with Poynter News University to develop an advanced online program for editors, both practicing and those in training.

These certificates bolster your resume, as they provide a level of validity to your reported skillset. By earning these certificates (at a much lower cost with ACES membership), a copy editing-hopeful like myself can prove to a potential employer that they are qualified and committed to the quality of care for precision.

If your friends call you a “grammar geek, punctuation freak [or] syntax-obsessed snob,” then copy editing might be the profession for you. A membership with the American Copy Editors society could be your ticket into an industry that is neither glamorous nor cut-throat.

Get your word-nerd on today by visiting www.copydesk.org, emailing membership@copydesk.org, or following @copyeditors on Twitter.

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